31.1 miles. 50 kilometers.
On April 27, 2019, I will run an Ultra Marathon through the terrain overhanging the Potomac River. Before we get there though, I should probably explain how I got here.
I am addicted to new challenges. I wouldn’t consider myself an overachiever, though. I would consider myself more of an achiever that overbooks himself - not an overachiever. A year ago, however, I ran my first marathon on a whim - 26.2 miles through the beautiful (hilly) city of Baltimore. The only caveat - I had been lifting competitively for over a year, hadn’t run more than a mile since high school, and the excessive squatting had given me chronic back pain. Another caveat - I had less than two months to train.
So - highly unqualified, slow, and unprepared, I found an 18-week basic marathon program online, and I started (10 weeks late, of course). Between a hectic semester of classes and work. Fortunately, I was able to run three or four times during the week, with one long run on the weekends.
After eight weeks and what felt like an eternity later, I nervously lined up on that cold October morning, unsure how the next five hours of my life would go. The most I had run up to that point was 20 miles, and the sound advice I had seen on the reputable counseling site, “Yahoo Answers,” had told me that typically after that distance, runners hit “the wall.” The wall - sounds intimidating, but it couldn’t be that bad, right? Wrong. My cramped quads, aching knees, and broken confidence disagree.
Nonetheless, I crossed the finish line less than five hours later, and I have this picture to prove it.
So, what makes me want to run even further this time?
And what does this have to do with the ministry of OneU, fundraising support, and the mission of Jesus Christ?
1 Corinthians 9:24-25:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
Despite the race’s importance in my life, the act of running 31.1 miles is an accomplishment that many will not remember. The world will not remember the tracks my shoes leave on Great Falls’s soil. So, we are left with a dilemma, then. If everyone wants to earn something in their lives and leave an impact that will not be forgotten, how does one do so?
Well, the answer is given to us! Paul tells us that we cannot run for our own benefit - for our own prize. When we run a race for ourselves, the prize will be forgotten. Every time. So, I am running every mile and training every hour because we are called to run in self-control and discipline for the kingdom of God. Therefore, all donations towards the race will go towards OneU’s campus ministry at Maryland.
This next semester will be my first semester serving in full-time campus ministry, work that requires diligent preparation, unwavering discipline, and a constant recognition of room for growth. Campus ministry exists solely because there are thousands of students that do not know know the good of news of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, so the gospel must be preached there! (Mark 16:15)
The call to serve the University of Maryland campus is seemingly an insurmountable task. Thousands of students walk the campus every day, so how does one begin to take on such a broad goal? *Pardon the cheesiness* but it happens one step at a time.
So that’s just what I’m going to do. Step by step, mile by mile, conversation by conversation.
If you want to be a part of my training for the imperishable prize, follow the link below! All donors will receive a 31.1 OneU Sticker.